Tales From The Betting Ring – Wincanton 05/12/13

They're a hardy bunch of punters up Wincanton way.

They’re a hardy bunch of punters up Wincanton way.

It was a bit of a surprise when arriving at Wincanton to see racecourse photographers lurking in the car-park paparazzi-style. It turned out that they had been tasked, generally to their distaste, to get some shots of Timmy Murphy arriving for a stint on the stewards’ carpet. He was handed out 9 days for his part in an altercation in the weighing room at Newbury where it appears he came second anyway.

This blog is not about my opinion on racing matters, it’s about tales from the betting ring and not the weighing room, but maybe that’s how it should stay for everyone. Jockeys risk their limbs and lives for our entertainment on a daily basis. Their game is a very demanding and high-pressured run on nerve and adrenaline, it wouldn’t be human nature if young athletes working in that environment didn’t have emotions spill over at some point.

Had there been a punch-up on the course in front of the public and TV cameras of course the game would have been brought into disrepute. From what I can gather this altercation took place in what should be their bastion of privacy the weighing room and was settled quickly between those permitted access to it. I’m also led to believe that the main protagonist had apologised before the clock struck midnight. Unless there was a complaint to the police by the ‘victim’ that should have been that? Maybe I’m old fashioned but I don’t see how dragging a heat of the moment incident between two grown men in an area not open to the general public into the glare of the media is helpful to anyone concerned. Add to that livelihood’s are affected as punishment. To my mind the sum is a very raw deal in what is a world that is a very  tough one  as it is without people in warm offices handing out draconian punishments.

Controversial nonsense over the racing day started quite brightly but soon turned into a nasty day weather-wise with a freezing wind for bookies and punters to contend with. It can’t have been a whole lot of fun taking part in the races either but the inclement conditions  didn’t appear to bother Barry Geraghty who racked up a short-priced quick-fire double for himself and Nicky Henderson in the first two races. Winners at 8/11 and 11/10 isn’t a great start to the ring  but the biggest bet on the latter was an even carpet (£300) so sort of sums up the cash business at least for that race.

Lumpys Gold at a modern-looking price of 9/5 appeared to be going to make it three out of three for favourite-backers but flattered to deceive when it got serious going down by 3/4 of a length to 10/1 shot Rior. That provided some welcome relief for the layers. Allthekingshorses was all the rage in the next attracting two bets of £1000-£400 before going off at 15/8 (come racing) but had to settle for second-fiddle behind 10/3 Bucks Bond.

The punters seemed to vanish between races, and who could blame them leaving the ring to shiver in frozen isolation. They always came back though. There seemed to be a few fancied in the race before the penultimate with Decoy backed from around 20/1 into 10/1, Thundering Home 16/1 into 12/1 and Jumps Road 5/1 into 7/2. The latter looked very likely to win turning for home, then cooked when 6/1 Prompter loomed up full of running at the last. Quite how the punter who had the monkey on the cruising challenger  felt when Jumps Road dug deep and ran on again is anyone’s guess, but probably not as good as those on the winner at 5/1. Aye Aye!

Punters really latched on to Bincombe in the next, to the tune of 9/4 into 11/8. They got it right too, never really having a moment’s worry as the gamble was landed with ease. Things didn’t get better for the ring in the concluding bumper though it possibly could have been worse. 11/4jf Fair Dreamer won the race with some ease but had also been easy to back in the market drifting from 2/1 while the runner-up and other joint favourite Flashyfrank had been backed from 9/2.

One bookie posted on facebook that he’d been in his car for half an hour and his hands were still frozen. All very sad and slightly ironic really when you consider that generally layers had their fingers burned!

(C) Simon Nott

Skint Mob! is a 200 page king-sized paperback book with full colour photographs. It brings to life the betting rings of UK racecourses from Aintree to Ascot and Newton Abbot to Newbury via point to points and the odd nip into a betting shop. The author uses his own experiences working for bookmakers since the late 1980′s as a vehicle to bring to life the colour and characters of that most vibrant and exciting of habitats. Add a liberal sprinkling of humour and you have a must-read for all fans of UK racing and its unique atmosphere. Cost £9.99 plus postage. Now Available on eBay http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/-/281209985067?roken=uMXnXl

Skint Mob! Tales From The Betting Ring. OUT NOW

Skint Mob! Tales From The Betting Ring. OUT NOW


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Dave Tyler on December 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    I think your aside on the Newbury incident is very thoughtful and well put, which can’t be said of all the press coverage. I’m not titillated by stuff that should stay in the weighing room.


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